Thursday

26th May 2016

Focus

Vote for Schulz to ensure a German commission president, says ad

  • "Only if you vote for Martin Schulz and the SPD can a German become president of the European Commission," says the quarter page ad on page seven in the Bild newspaper (Photo: EUobserver)

While EU commission president candidates position themselves above the domestic fray – European candidates for a European job – their political parties at home can be much more pragmatic.

Germany's SPD party, political home to commission president candidate Martin Schulz, on Friday ran a quarter page ad in national papers saying that only a vote for the SPD will ensure that a German gets the top post.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Only if you vote for Martin Schulz and the SPD can a German become president of the European Commission," says the text of the ad in the Bild and Sueddeutsche newspapers, alongside a picture of the man himself.

The Bild Zeitung, a tabloid, is Germany's most widely-read newspaper. It has a populist tone and came to prominence beyond the country's borders for it shrill headlines and content about Greece at the height of the eurozone crisis.

The online version of the news paper features a less emphatic ad.

The picture remains the same but says: Martin Schulz. From Germany. For Europe. Vote SPD on 25 May.

The print version illustrates the extent to which European politics is still couched in domestic terms.

This is also reflected in the fact that the EU vote runs across four days and is often used as a tool to punish domestic politicians. There are also various rules on election thresholds and preferential voting and no transnational lists.

The SPD ad, with its nationalistic focus, also runs against the ethos of Schulz's own campaign which has been about emphasising European solutions for EU problems such as high youth unemployment and failing migration policy.

In a recent interview with Der Spiegel where he was asked about his nationality, Schulz said it does not play a role.

"Europe is in a very dangerous situation. We cannot consider each other to be adversaries. I have a European calling and nationality plays no role for me. I think people know that."

The ad is also likely to have unwittingly fed into fears that Germany's dominance in the EU – Berlin pushed the austerity-focussed response to the eurozone crisis – would be reinforced with a German commission president.

A spokesperson for Schulz said he had not yet seen the ad but added he would not be able to comment on it as "this is coming from the party".

EU treaty rules say commissioners should represent the common European good, however member states are always keen to get "their" man or woman in charge of an influential dossier.

EUobserved

Death by 'hearings'

The hearings, the hearings. It's all about the hearings. Please make it stop. Or should that be start?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  2. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  3. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  4. Innovators Under 35Meet MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 Award Recipients from Belgium on 25 May, 6pm
  5. Open EuropeJoin the Brussels Brexit Debate on Wednesday, 25 May at 5:00 PM
  6. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  7. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  8. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  11. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan
  12. Belgrade Security ForumOpen Call for Applications! Join the Events Team at the 6th Belgrade Security Forum.

Latest News

  1. Greek debt deal doesn't solve the problem
  2. EU to relax online shopping, but not film or music
  3. European pioneers battle air pollution in the courts
  4. ECB: Populist surge is bad for business 
  5. EU states 'complicit' in Egypt repression
  6. Privacy whiz Max Schrems set to challenge other big firms
  7. 'Rude' ex-commissioner blanks MEPs' diesel probe
  8. EU and IMF agree debt relief for Greece